Sports

Men’s cross-country records seventh-place finish at Heps for second year running

Bruno posts 164 points at New York meet, trails six Ivy opponents despite late-race rally

By
Staff Writer
Sunday, October 29, 2017

Andrew Foerder ’18 powers to the finish line in Van Cortlandt Park Friday. Five Bears finished the five-mile course in the top 50 of 88 runners, but Bruno was unable to stymie the efforts of its Ivy League foes despite previous victories over rivals Dartmouth and Harvard earlier in the season.

The men’s cross-country team locked horns with the rest of the Ivy League at the 2017 Heptagonal Championships, held Friday in the Bronx’s historic Van Cortlandt Park. Despite mounting a late-race rally, which saw them rise as high as sixth in the team standings, the Bears failed to improve upon last year’s seventh-place finish. In the final tally, Bruno recorded a score of 164 points, beating out only Harvard. 

“It was a little disappointing the way things turned out,” said captain Martin Martinez ’18. “We didn’t have a specific place in mind, but we thought we could place a lot higher than we did.”

The race at the front of the pack boiled down to a brawl between Lions and Tigers. Columbia’s Ryan Thomas edged out Princeton’s Noah Kauppila by less than two seconds to capture the individual crown, but Princeton emerged triumphant in the team category, besting their big-city rival 28 to 43. Defending champion Penn was a distant third with 91 points. 

The Bears’ result belied their strong performances against Ivy League opponents during the regular season. In September, Brown trounced Dartmouth and Harvard at the Battle in Beantown; in October, Bruno again defeated Dartmouth — and scalped Yale for good measure — at the Pre-National Invitational. But only the Crimson finished behind the Bears Friday.

Injuries to key personnel severely hampered Bruno’s efforts. Brown lost its number-one runner, captain Matt Mahoney ’18, to a stress fracture in September. Then, Mike Wyman ’18 — first for the Bears in their last meet of the regular season — fell victim to shin pain during the championship race itself, forcing him to drop out before the three-mile mark.

In lieu of Mahoney or Wyman, Martin Martinez ’18 led Brown over the five-mile course, clocking a time of 25:34. The senior captain started out aggressively and clung tightly to the leaders, clawing his way up to 10th  as the race neared its conclusion. But Martinez lost ground to kicking competitors over the final half mile, falling to 20th place overall.

“I put myself where I wanted to be in the race early on, and I was there coming off of Cemetery Hill,” Martinez said. “With about a (kilometer) to go, I just didn’t really have it in my legs. I think I hadn’t really recovered from my race at (the Pre-National Invitational).”

For the second time this season, Gabe Altopp ’20 was Brown’s second man over the line, crossing in 25:53. Altopp hovered around 30th place throughout the race and ultimately netted 30 points for the Bears. 

Bruno’s third man, Andrew Foerder ’18, followed Altopp with a time of 26:04 — good for 36 points. Four seconds later, Dan McDonald-Meteer ’18 contributed an additional 38 points to Brown’s tally. Lastly, Cam Daly ’20, who had plummeted downwards through the pack from a peak position of 16th place, capped off the score with 41 points. Daly’s time was 26:14.

“Cam is a competitor —He was grinding,” Martinez said. “It wasn’t a matter of effort. … He just wasn’t quite feeling it yesterday.”

The Bears will return to competition at the NCAA Northeast Regional on Friday, Nov. 10. The meet will afford Bruno a rematch against every team in the Ivy League except for Penn and Princeton. Martinez said that the team is looking forward to the race, which will take place over a distance of 10 kilometers, rather than 5 miles.

“Guys are motivated. Things didn’t go quite the way we wanted at Heps, but we have another opportunity in two weeks to beat all the teams that beat us — and we’re hoping to beat some other teams, too.”